An estimated $10 million to $12 million bequest from the estate of the late Patty Boyd to the Allan Hancock College music program is the largest gift ever to the Allan Hancock College Foundation and believed to be the second-largest gift in the history of the California community colleges.

Boyd, a lifelong patron of the arts and native Santa Marian, set aside another $1 million for the PCPA Foundation’s mission of ensuring the future of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

Boyd, who passed away in July 2012, taught piano for many years and was on the faculty of Allan Hancock College. She was the only child of Gertrude Rice France and Elmer Boyd. She was the granddaughter of Florence and W. H. Rice, early settlers of the Santa Maria Valley. Boyd continued to teach piano into her late 80s and continued her involvement with the college until her death.

“We are, quite literally, astounded by the generosity of Patty’s gift to the college,” said Allan Hancock College Interim Superintendent/President Elizabeth Miller, Ed.D. “Throughout her life she supported the college in her actions and deeds, and now upon her death, after living a full life to the age of 91, she has extended that generosity to benefit generations to come.”

Boyd’s goddaughter and second cousin Patricia Rice said her godmother’s life’s work was bringing the arts to the community.

“The arts — piano and music — were her thing, along with nurturing young people through her piano lessons,” Rice said. “She started off teaching private piano lessons and then moved on to teach at Hancock. She did not have children of her own, but took special care with so many from the community. But her lessons were only a part of it. She was very involved in the local arts efforts.”

Rice said when Boyd told her of her planned gift, she was thrilled. “I said, ‘You should do that. Hancock is your life’s work.’” Rice said Boyd’s gift was the “most good the money could do It will be a lasting gift.”

Jeff Cotter, executive director of the Allan Hancock College Foundation, said the bequest is specific in nature, and is targeted to enhance the physical assets of the Santa Maria campus music program, such as a concert hall, sound systems, instruments and music.

“She was devoted to music and the arts in her lifetime, and she has left a legacy that will allow others to continue to do the same,” Cotter said.

He said the foundation, which exists to support the college, is working closely with the Boyd estate to finalize receipt of the gift.

As part of its Measure I building campaign, the college has plans to construct a new fine arts facility on the Santa Maria campus in the next several years. Boyd’s gift, which has been designated the Patricia J. Boyd Fund, could be used to help create a performance space in that new building, which was not part of the original plan because it was cost prohibitive. The college intends to follow Boyd’s wishes by pursuing how a concert venue could become reality on the college campus.

Currently, the fine arts department, which includes music, is housed in buildings E and F on the Santa Maria campus. The classrooms, offices and small music performance spaces were built in the early 1960s when the nucleus of the Allan Hancock College campus was constructed on what was the former home of the Hancock College of Aeronautics.

The fine arts department, which has outgrown its space, includes art, ceramics, dance, drama, film, graphics, music, photography and multimedia arts and communication. The music program encompasses music performance, including a concert band, jazz band, electronic band and chorales and mixed ensembles, as well as courses ranging from music history to electronic music, piano, guitar and sound recording.

PCPA Artistic Director/Associate Dean Mark Booher knew Patty for many years.

“In addition to being a long-time theatre patron and one of PCPA’s single greatest individual supporters, Patricia Boyd was a genuinely inspiring individual,” he said. “Patty was diminutive physically, but as a person of character and creative spirit she stood head and shoulders over me. In getting to know Patty over the last several years, I was always impressed by her lovely spirit and artistic sensibilities. Even before learning of this astonishing bequest to the PCPA Foundation, we’d made the determination to dedicate the current season ‘to the memory of Patricia J. Boyd — tremendous supporter, fellow educator and artist.’”

Booher said he and PCPA will always remember Body with great gratitude and with a strong continued sense of purpose in carrying on the work she so prized.

Keetha Mills, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, said Boyd’s gift, which is among the largest to a community college in our state’s history, leaves a legacy that is no less monumental.

“It is extremely meaningful that philanthropists and lifelong community college supporters such as Ms. Boyd place such a high value on our community colleges and the opportunities they provide,” she said.

To share in the significance of this momentous gift, the Allan Hancock College and PCPA foundations are hosting a reception at 3 p.m. Monday, April 15 for members of the Boyd family, foundation members and those who are active in the local arts community. For details, please call the Allan Hancock College Foundation at 805.925.2004.

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.